09/26/2002 11:00PM

Contessa entry tops Bongard


ELMONT, N.Y. - Several promising New York-bred 2-year-olds are entered in Sunday's $75,000-added Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont Park, part of the undercard for the $750,000 Turf Classic.

The seven-furlong Bongard shares the undercard with the $75,000-added Joseph A. Gimma, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old New York-bred fillies.

Eleven entered the Bongard, including a strong uncoupled entry from trainer Gary Contessa's barn.

Contessa sends out Storm Cadet, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga on Aug. 31 following an eight-length maiden win 17 days earlier.

The other Contessa runner is Unswept, a 1 3/4-length winner of a Saratoga maiden race the same day as the Hopeful. Unswept, owned by David Cassidy and Andrew Farm, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88 for the win, the highest in the Bongard field.

"As a trainer, I don't know who is the better horse," Contessa said. Storm Cadet, owned by West Point Stable, will race with blinkers for the first time after being beaten nine lengths in the Hopeful by Sky Mesa.

Jockey Pat Day "thought he raced a little green," Contessa said.

Day, who has won aboard Storm Cadet and Unswept, will ride Storm Cadet from post 5. Edgar Prado rides Unswept from the rail. Both of Contessa's horses will receive first-time Lasix.

Spite the Devil returns to restricted company and merits respect after finishing third in both the Saratoga Special and Sanford.

The only stakes winner in the field is Infinite Justice, who is 2 for 2 after winning the New York Breeders' Futurity by 7 1/4 lengths earlier this month at Finger Lakes. Adding depth to the field is Funny Cide, who annihilated his rivals when he won a statebred maiden race by 14 3/4 lengths here on Sept. 8.

New England shipper Sweet Samantha is the likely favorite among 12 entered in the Gimma. Sweet Samantha won her career debut at Saratoga by 22 3/4 lengths in restricted company and then won last Sunday's Concord Stakes at Rockingham.

Dodie Duys rides Sweet Samantha, who drew post 2.

Another contender is Beautiful America, who finished third against males in the New York Breeders' Futurity after easily winning her first start at Saratoga.

Marc's Rainbow returns to the dirt after winning a maiden grass race by five lengths.

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